Environmentally & Ecologically Sustainable farming
Commercial farming ( growing for sale) falls into 2 categories,
Semi Intensive & Intensive
Semi intensive and Intensive farming is where a greater level of management is used to produce larger numbers of yabbies.
This involves stocking ponds at higher densities, feeding and protecting the crop and using good genetic stock.
This type farming will produce higher levels of crayfish but at a lot higher cost in food and labour, etc
Yabby farming is something that you can do at your pace and at your level of input so very attractive to most people.
To increase the production to semi intensive levels requires regular feeding of your crop. This means that you are adding nutrients to water and growing your yabbies at higher densities than would occur naturally.
This means that more rules and regulations will apply to this type of farming.
This type of farming requires a class D aquaculture permit from NSW Fisheries
Intensive Farming is generally conducted in purpose designed ponds usually aquare or rectangular shaped and where very high numbers or yabbies are grown in small spaces.
There are various methods for intensive yabby farming and all require intensive management with regular feeding and water quality management.
This type of farming also requires a Class D aquaculture permit from NSW Fisheries.
Water availability, land, soil type and location are important factors to be considered when commercially farming yabbies, with the average pond
requiring 1-2 megalitres of water.
Dam Stock Yabbies - generally 60-100mm long and big enough to breed at the time they are added to your dam.
Research has shown that when yabbies larger than this are added to a dam, a large majority of them will try to make their way back to where they were born.
For commercial farmers stocking sensity is usually
2-3 yabbies per square metre.
When purchasing dam stock yabbies they are generally not sexed so in every hundred the mix will be in the range of 70/30, 60/40, 50/50
male to female or female to male.
Dams / Ponds Yabbies do not require deep water.
Our commercial ponds are 1.5m - 1.8m at the deepest end. In dams deeper than this, yabbies will tend to congregate in the shallower water.
Yabbies require a continual source of calcium for growth and for maintaining a strong shell. Soft shelled yabbies make them vulnerable to predators and other yabbies.
Agricultural lime (not hydrated lime) is an ideal calcium source.
A yearly application of ag lime applied to the sides of the dam (allowing it to be gradually washed in by rain) will ensure adequate calcium is
available for growth, generally 20kg per 50m x 40m dam.
Some commercial aquaculture operations are from extensive farm dam harvest operations, where yabbies are just trapped from another farmer(s) dams.
This requiree a Class E permit and requires a farmer to provide the harvester and DPI Fisheries signed permission to harvest from thier dam.
Generally most commercial farms are located on rural properties in specially designed yabby ponds.
Commercial yabby farms consist of large numbers of shallow ponds designed specifically for the yabbies.
This maximizes the growth and numbers of yabbies that the pond produces.
It also allows for easy management and less costs in construction and ongoing maintenance.
Yabby Dabba Doo provide consulting services (your farm or ours) for farmers or individuals considering taking up yabby farming
for profit or as a hobby.
In NSW you do not need any special permits to grow yabbies for your family and yourself.
An aquaculture permit is required if you wish to sell yabbies to the public.
Yabbies grow well in farm dams and for the hobby farmer it generally requires very little effort little or no feeding other than the occasional application of agricultural lime.
This farming method is referred to as Extensive Farming.
Extensive is where the yabbies basically fend for themselves with little in the way of management or food added.
The yabbies just live and breed in the pond/dam and the farmer just catches them out with traps. Production is low to medium and all production is based on pond surface area.
Generally material washed into dams (vegetation, sheep cow manure etc) is a sufficient food source, however if adding yabbies to a newly dug dam, it is recommended that a base food source like old hay be added,
either broken up and spread around on dam floor,
or by staking small bales
There are less rules and regulations involved with extensive farming as it involves natural populations and natural food.
This type of aquaculture requires a Class C aquaculture permit
from NSW Fisheries if you sell your yabbies for financial gain.
A starting stocking density for this form of farming is generally
1 or 2 yabbies per 10 square metres.